Lincoln Douglas Debate

For arranging air/bus/train travel for unaccompanied campers, click here.

Main session July 18th-August 1st, 2017 | $1,600 (commuter rate $1,300)

Extension session July 18th-August 4th, 2017 | $2,075 (commuter rate $1,715)

A $250 non-refundable registration/deposit fee guarantees your spot and is applied to the tuition sticker price – it is not an additive fee. While there is no deadline to register, our programs do fill-up, so the earlier you register, the better. For more information, scroll all the way down.

Students attending UTNIF camps must be at least 13 years of age to stay as residents in the dorm. Students who are not 13 may be able to attend as commuters, with prior permission from the camp director. Please contact Kate Richey at katerichey@utexas.edu or (717) 478-8643

The University of Texas at Austin Lincoln Douglas program provides an invaluable and intense educational environment at one of the most affordable prices in the country. Founded in 1994 under the direction of Prof. Randy Cox, our camp emphasizes individual focus to help students transition to their next level, whether that be achieving success locally, regionally, or nationally.

The record of success speaks for itself. UTNIF alums have won NFL Nationals, TFA State, and UIL State. Previous UTNIF students have said that a couple weeks at the camp was comparable to an entire year’s worth of competitive experience in terms of the growth they underwent as debaters.  At UTNIF, every student receives our full respect and attention regardless of previous experience or reputation. Our staff is also highly versatile in terms of understanding debate across regions and circuits (TFA, UIL, TOC, and NFL). You will be hard pressed to find a better value for your money.

Our LD Staff

Eric EMERSON is the Curriculum Director for the UTNIF’s 2017 Lincoln Douglas program. As the Director of Debating at the Kinkaid School in Houston, Eric’s debaters have excelled at state and national competitions in both LD and CX debate.  His debaters have won numerous awards, reaching late elimination rounds at every major national tournament including the Tournament of Champions.  He serves on the Board and is the Chair elect of the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL) – a 501(c) (3) that brings academic debate to Houston’s students that are most in need. Eric is a tireless educator, notoriously dedicated to his students, and we are very happy to have him aboard!

Jana HARRISON has been coaching for over 10 years and currently coaches at Edmond North High School, in Oklahoma.  She has sent LDers to NFL Nationals 7 out of the last 8 years, where her students have placed in the top 15.  Jana was named the 2011 West Oklahoma District Coach of the Year, and has coached the Oklahoma State Champion in LD.  Jana coaches a large squad of students that consistently excel in competition.

Click here to read more about the LD instructor roster for UTNIF ’17

Our LD Philosophy:

  1. A balanced & intelligent approach to modern LD. Our staff is mature, open, and up-to-date with LD, giving students the benefits of instructors who are both experienced and current with the activity. The UTNIF curriculum reflects both an understanding of LD traditions, as well as hands-on knowledge of debate’s progression over recent years. Students leave UTNIF grounded both in LD history and its modern practice. We believe the best debaters have an appreciation for where LD has been and where it is going. These are the students capable of success when facing a variety of opponents in front of all types of judges. In addition, our curriculum will both introduce students to philosophical ideas and focus upon practical application. We make the time in our schedule for in-depth start-stop practice aimed at addressing each student’s specific needs as a round unfolds. This allows students to learn in the moment. Rarely do students experience this kind of intensive help.
  2. Choice. Lectures are offered in a module format, allowing students some variety in terms of what they would like to learn. Modules will be offered for different levels and interests and encompass skills & strategy, debate theory, and philosophy. Subjects cover a full range of material, from Kant to kritiks. The goal of the module format is for students to be able to learn what is most appropriate for them based on their style and region.
  3. A focus on decency and inclusion. At UTNIF, character matters. We want students to win more while knowing that winning certainly doesn’t determine the worth of people who participate in forensics. Our staff members are highly talented in terms of debate skill, but more importantly, they provide good role models for decency in our activity. Our camp nurtures a supportive environment based on mutual respect and friendship. We specialize in working with kids who are growing into their talent, not just those with established reputations. Every student matters equally at UTNIF, and we hope each person leaves our camp ready to make our debate community more competitive and more welcoming.
  4. Unparalleled resources for research. The UT Austin library is the 6th largest in the nation.

The curriculum:

Students attending UTNIF Lincoln Douglas camps will be placed in experience appropriate instructional groups by the Curriculum Director.  UTNIF Lincoln Douglsas is able to accommodate students of all skill level, from the true novice to the very advanced. In the mornings, students will attend skills based lectures on such subjects as time management in the 1AR, beginning and advanced flowing, crystallization, etc. Afternoons will be dedicated to lab instruction and practice rounds. In their labs, students will be guided by their instructors in case preparation on an NFL resolution that potentially could be selected for the upcoming year. Improving a student’s research skills will be a primary focus. Lab time also will be used to teach students drills they can use independently to advance their talents once they return home, such as rebuttal re-dos. In the evenings, there will be elective modules on philosophy and debate theory, as well as individual conference time for meeting with staff.

The extension week:

The extension week provides a unique opportunity for highly individualized attention. Students will prepare a second resolution in addition to the one prepared during the two-week session, providing them with the opportunity to further develop their research and casing skills. This means they will return to school with even more research on upcoming NFL topics. In addition, students will be asked to recommend lecture subjects so that our staff can prepare material specifically focused on their interests. Finally, we will continue practice rounds, providing more time for practical application of the skills students have advanced at UTNIF.

Register and reserve your spot at the UTNIF

The $250 registration/deposit fee reserves a student’s place in camp. It is non-refundable at any time, for any reason.* This fee is a deposit and is applied to the cost of the program your camper attends, it is not an additive cost.

UTNIF accepts payment through major credit/debit cards. We no longer accept personal checks. School districts, not for profit institutions, and charitable organizations can still make arrangements to pay by check. Please contact Kate Richey at katerichey@utexas.edu or (717) 478-8643 for more information regarding payment via check.

Why is the UTNIF registration/deposit fee non refundable?

We do not want families to shoulder an unnecessary cost burden should something happen that’s beyond their control; but we’re also a not for profit camp. We have to reserve residence hall space and hire enough summer staff in advance to supervise students. Cancelled registrations leave us over-extended, as we commit to hiring staff & reserving dorm space on the basis of early enrollment numbers. We apologize but hope you understand, the fee is needed to recoup losses associated with over extension, and is non-refundable at any time, for any reason.*

*If your household is very low income, and your camper is denied financial aid, we will consider refunds of the registration/deposit fee on a case-by-case basis.